My friend the alcoholic nearly died last week. I can’t remain quiet so I’ve written a letter.

You own a profitable business, you’ve got a loving family and many friends.  I won’t go into all the reasons you’ve got for mending your ways, because if anyone knows those reasons it’s you.  You freely admit that the two years you abstained from alcohol were the two best years of your adult life.  Your dead husband told you that if it weren’t for the property and business you own and the people who run it for you, you would be a common drunk.  You would be lost, homeless, friendless.  You would sit, tattered and unwashed, on a corner begging for coins so that you could afford to stay in that dark place, deprived of thought and feelings.

You think you’re so strong.  You think you’re so tough.  You think you can do it on your own, that you don’t need any help.  I’m here to tell you that you need all the help you can get.  Your friends are leaving you, your family members are nearing the ends of their respective ropes.  People will only try for so long before they move on to other, more rewarding relationships.  Kind of like what happened with your boyfriend, a sweet, caring guy who wanted nothing more than to enjoy that daily, comforting kind of kinship that lasts into old age.  He emailed you this week and signed his note, “Best Wishes”.  That made you so mad.  “With the intimacy we’ve shared, you can sign your notes ‘Your Friend’ at least!” You called him at five a.m. and left a message.  He called you right back, tolerating your ranting once again.  I told you that he must have had some trouble deciding how to sign off.  I could picture him, typing and then erasing his closing line.  He is a stoic person, and brave to continue talking to you.  I don’t think I could do it, if I were him.

I’m not going to lie to you…I don’t want to find your body.  I don’t want to see what will happen to your business once you’re gone.  You’re the driving force behind it, and the odds that it can carry on without you are slim.  I don’t want to sit in church and cry through your funeral, and I don’t want to be the one who helps your sister pick out a headstone.  Neither do any of your other friends.  It’s getting to the point where it hurts too much to watch you circling the drain.  That ellipse you’re stuck in…It’s getting tighter, closer, faster. 

I don’t know what else to say to you.  I know if I leave you, you’ll fall into oblivion and probably lose your business.  After all, I do your banking.  I do your scheduling.  I meet your clients, and I tell them that you’re sick.  It was a relief to be able to say that you were hospitalized last week, because it validated my statements of your illness. 

 For the time being, I’m here for you and I’m your friend.  I guess this is kind of an ultimatum, a warning.  Like lemmings, people are moving away from you.  It’s tempting to join their ranks.

Your friend,


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  • Danny Jay OBrien Jr on Dec 4, 2008

    Great perspective from the other side of the looking glass. As someone who is recovering from alcholism and also lost a father to this \’cancer of the crippled soul\’, I say to you, \”Bravo\”. I leave you with this: Do not give up five seconds before the miracle happens. Also, do not be taken hostage. The life you could be saving could very well be your own.

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